HomeOpinionA note to Dr Kenneth David Kaunda

A note to Dr Kenneth David Kaunda

By Noah Muzorori

HOW was it possible that you were almost lonely in liberating Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa.

At every conference you battled against the Rhodesians and the apartheid South Africans.

Do you know Dr Kaunda that from the time you led Zambia to independence in 1964, you could have refused to give refuge to southern Africa’s liberation movements and kept to yourself and reaped immense short-term benefits to Zambia.

But on a matter of principle, you refused to enjoy Zambia’s newly won independence when southern Africa was all in chains.

Indeed what kind of an African were you at that time when your neighbour was hobnobbing with apartheid kingpins.

Indeed, you were like a man who got a brand new suit and..standing there holding, admiring your new possession, you looked around and noticed your African brothers in tatters.

Before putting on your new suit, you then were seen cutting that new suit (Zambian independence) into small pieces so that your fellow Africans in Southern Africa can wear new shirts and shorts-out of your new suit material!

How astoundingly selfless can anyone be!

Indeed the highest degree of human civility and…..no wonder why world civilisation started in Africa.

Lord, we thank you for  giving us Dr Kaunda in Southern Africa !

President Kaunda , you were born in 1924.

BUT ten years before you were born (1914),the idea of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland was been mooted.

It was postponed only because the First World War had started in August 1914.

In this European Civil War, Africans from Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi were enlisted as The Rhodesian regiment to fight for the Queen.

The Rhodesian Settlers and Mr Cecil John Rhodes’s British South African Company had admired the pooling of the three countries human and natural resources to such an extent that  they never gave up until the Federation Project was implemented in 1953.

Dr Kaunda, how tough was going to be the struggle for freedom had Zimbabwe and Zambia been joined to South Africa in 1919 as the latter’s provinces.

Or how insurmountable was the struggle for independence had Zimbabwe been sold (for $189 000) off to The Republic of Transvaal had President Paul Kruger agreed to the idea again in 1919.

Dr Kaunda, you were twenty-four years old when the first Federal Seats were available for contestation in April 1953.

However much you wanted to field yourself as a candidate, the electoral act made you ineligible since the Federal electoral rules required you to fulfil certain financial, educational and property (racial) standards to contest.

Your Southern Rhodesian nemesis, Mr Ian Douglas Smith won the Federal Assembly’s Midlands Constituency on 15th December 1953.

Although the Federal Government lowered the standards of a voter under the “A” and “B” Voters Roll through the newly adopted 1961 constitution , the African nationalists rejected it, especially in Northern Rhodesia, where you led and fervently campaigned ,unceasingly chanting — Zambia shall be free!

Dr Kaunda, we will forever remember the day — 19 December 1962 as the day you broke the camel’s back.

For lo and behold-Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister announced that Nyasaland (Malawi) had been allowed to leave The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.

Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda was thundering towards final victory.

You and Harry Nkumbula were uproariously mobilising Zambians into a crescendo that nailed the Federation.

Dr Kaunda I am most proud of the courage and tenacity of indefatigable leadership.

I lift my hand in a tearful pride that God gave us Kenneth David Kaunda.

Ven Vidi Vici President Kaunda on 28 June 1963 at the Victoria Falls Hotel, The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland was dissolved and the deck was cleared by 31st December 1963.

At the age of 40 you were sworn in as the first President of the Republic of Zambia.

At the same time in my country, Joshua Nkomo’s National Democratic Party had been banned and almost within 24 hours replaced by Zimbabwe African people’s Union (Zapu).

Dr Kaunda, as you may have routinely come to know, Mr Godfrey Huggins became an advocate of combining  Southern Rhodesia with some of the neighbouring British colonies in the region so that they would become an independent state within the British Empire while maintaining white minority rule with only a small number of educated Blacks having the vote in addition to white settlers.

After having pressed for it, the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland was created in 1953 uniting Northern Rhodesia, southern Rhodesia and Nyasaland with Huggins as the federation’s first prime minister after his new United Federal Party won the federation’s first general election.

Huggins remained in office until 1956 and was elevated to the British peerage as Viscount Malvern prior to his retirement.

He was succeeded as prime minister by Sir Roy Welensky.

The most vexatious   political issue of his tenure as Federal Prime Minister was the question of race relations.

Huggins and other proponents of Federation claimed to stand for a policy of partnership, which they claimed was much more enlightened than the apartheid that the new Nationalist Party Government was then installing in South Africa.

Zapu President Joshua Nkomo used to froth at the mouth when he remembered Goffrey Huggins Speech in the Federal Assembly in Salisbury (now Harare) on July 28, 1954 against a motion to enforce equal treatment of the races, illustrating Huggins’s attitude towards black Africans:

“You cannot expect Europeans to form in a queue with dirty people, possibly an old mfazi with an infant on her back, mewling and puking and making a mess of everything… It is perfectly obvious to anyone that the system we have in Southern Rhodesia at the present time is the most satisfactory to both sides and it is certainly impossible to alter it until the hon. leaders of the African people have cleaned up their brother Africans a bit; and then we can perhaps consider it.”

His entrenched view was that the white-black relationship in Rhodesian everyday life was that comparable to “the partnership of rider and horse.”

Having taken over from Mr Godfrey Huggins by becoming Prime Minister of the Federation in 1957, Welensky opposed British Prime Minister Harold Wilson’s moves towards black majority rule, and used force to suppress politically motivated violence in the three territories.

Just before  the advent of black rule in two of the Federation’s three territories (Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland, now Zambia and Malawi respectively), the Federation project collapsed in December 1963.

The Organisation Of African Unity had been formed in May 1963 and you were one of the African nationalists who founded Africa Day.

The OAU Liberation Committee was then appointed to hasten the process of Liberation Movements.

Dr Kaunda you worked yourself to a standstill as from January 1964, including publishing a book “Zambia shall be free”, marching towards freedom ,with the date Of Zambia’s independence, beckoning!

The Zimbabwean nationalists, led by then late Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole met  on 22 May 1964 at Mutapa Hall in Gwelo (now Gweru) and made a resolution of going to war .

This is the time when Zambia gave sanctuary to more than five liberation movements and our own Chinhoyi Battle of 1966 had been planned from your country.

We are eternally grateful Great Son of Africa.

Dr Kaunda, I hope Dr Joshua Nkomo or Mr Herbert Chitepo had not  forgotten to tell you that Mr Winston Field (above) — a Marandellas tobacco farmer and a Federal MP for Mtoko in Mashonaland East, who became  the seventh Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia after forming the Rhodesia Front Party with Ian Douglas Smith and Douglas “Boss” Lilford in early 1962, was forced out in April 1964 at the instigation and conspiratorial foment of John Gaunt — a former native commissioner of Northern Rhodesia and Federal MP for Lusaka.

Winston Field — a non-racist was likely to usher in a mixed government had it not been for John Gaunt from Northern Rhodesia.

Dr Kaunda, I am sure you felt ‘pumped up” when Malawi got independent in July 1964 and the frontiers of African freedom were expanding.

Zanu of Zimbabwe ,Zipra of Zimbabwe, MPLA of Angola, ANC of South Africa and many others know very well the training forests and bushes at Chifombo, Mkushi etc.

You risked a straight rebellion from within your Party UNIP and Zambian Government when you refused to enjoy Zambian freedom before Zimbabwe was free.

We will narrate to our grandchildren that the pioneers of African liberation, like yourselves , gave us unconditional love in the midst of colonial bondage.

Between 1965 and 1968 you had unlikely allies like the British Prime Minister Harold Wilson who in his speech in Apartheid South Africa Parliament in Cape Town that there was “a wind of Change”  sweeping across Africa.

Emboldened by this European push ,you clamoured in the corridors of Addis Ababa (headquarters of the OAU) for the British government to act decisively and it paid off; Harold Wilson went to the United even dispatched a Royal Navy to the Mozambican Channel to remove the Rhodesian Front government by force in March 1966!

And indeed the United Nations Security Council Resolution 221 was passed in April 1966 to support the British Prime Minister.

And for the first time in its history, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 232 in December 1966 and Resolution  253 in April 1968 imposing mandatory trading blockade and economic sanctions on Rhodesia.

President Kaunda,we recall with unabashed pride when you held several conference on the Victoria Falls Border Bridge to sanitise Mr Ian Douglas Smith and his recalcitrant Rhodesian Front Party.

Such a feat was redolent of Mr Harold Wilson dragging the same Ian Smith to the Strait Of Gibraltar on the Her majesty Ship HM Fearless.

President ‘Copperbelt ‘ Kaunda, from the Afrocentric point of view, you did well in nationalising the valuable mineral. Where you made the mistake was that you nationalised before studying the global markets — where the copper was to be sent.

Obviously the western imperialists blockaded the markets so that your nationalised copper would not be bought.

Rest in peace my beloved founding African partriarch.

  • Muzorori is a researcher. He flew to Lusaka’s  Kabulonga Suburb on Monday 12 January 2004 to interview Dr Kaunda on the importance of the land question in southern Africa.  He can be contacted on +263 773 002 455. Email: thevozhd@yahoo.com

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